Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The State of Smoking

The dangers of second-hand smoke are well documented, with public smoking proving to be an absolute nuisance in some areas. For smokers, it isn’t much of an issue – the smoke you inhale from smoking a cigarette yourself is far greater than what you might inhale through second-hand smoking – but for non-smokers, it can drive you out of an establishment, and pose a health risk. To combat this risk to non-smokers, as well as to discourage individuals from smoking by providing further impediments and inconveniences to smokers, a number of smoking bans on a municipal, county, state, and in some cases countrywide basis have come into effect.

At first, only a few restaurants and other establishments banned smoking out of concern for the interior (smoke can do quite a number on the walls, ceiling, and furniture over the years) and for patrons who are disturbed by cigarette smoke. Over time, however, this spread to other public areas and even bars, that great haven of smokers. Today it can be difficult to find a place you can smoke outside your home (if you aren’t in a non-smoking apartment, anyhow!). Now you can see smokers standing behind shops and on the streets, shivering in the rain and snow, smoking their cigarettes miserably.

Health effects of second hand smoking.
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Coming Inside 

Why be one of them, when you can dodge smoking bans entirely? E-cigarettes are a brilliant invention for many reasons. They fill a need that has existed ever since the ill health effects of smoking were made public: the need to stop inhaling the thousands of toxic chemicals contained in cigarettes. Many have tried and failed – gum, patches, injections, tablets, lozenges, and many other nicotine treatments were tried to help smokers break their addiction, to little effect. However, e-cigarettes often succeed where current cessation devices fail because they also provide the physical sensation of smoking that has come to be associated, in a Pavlovian manner, with the nicotine addiction of smoking.

A new need has been created, though – the need to indulge in a nicotine fix while still being able to remain indoors, eating, drinking, and generally engaging in merriment! With more and more locales banning smoking in public places, you simply can’t expect to be able to smoke. An e-cigarette, of course, gets around this whole problem. An e-cigarette smoker can smoke in a restaurant, a bar, or even a museum. You could smoke in a hospital, in a school, or just about anywhere else where, for the past few decades, it has been absolutely forbidden to smoke. And best of all, you aren’t even threatening the health of anyone around you – you’re being totally safe and responsible!

Seeking Acceptance 

There are some countries that oppose e-cigarettes. After all, they’re a new technology that threatens a multi-billion dollar industry; namely, the tobacco industry. It is unsurprising that business interests are working to oppose e-cigarettes, blocking them from entry in some countries.

Certainly, e-cigs should continue to be tested and examined by scientists; as with anything else consumers take into their bodies, there is always the potential for new developments in science and technology to see problems with e-cigarettes that were previously unknown. As it stands, however, e-cigarettes are remarkable alternatives to cigarettes (which in some countries, receives more acceptance than e-cigs!).

The fact, however, is that as concern for citizen health grows, acceptance of e-cigarettes – the active encouragement of their use by governments and health organizations – is going to become more and more common. This isn’t at all surprising, as the cost to society of smoking is considerable. The health impact of smoking can cost quite a bit, with citizens taken out of working condition sooner, and stricken with cancer and other ailments more often. This puts a strain on the medical system and other care systems that doesn’t have to exist… if only e-cigarettes and other effective techniques for curbing smoking were more widely known and accepted.

Once upon a time, it was rare to see someone using an e-cigarette. They were strange, and probably caused more than a few double-takes. It isn’t hard to get behind the idea of quitting smoking – quitting the phlegmy mornings, the constant ill feeling, the regular bouts of bronchitis, the high cost of cigarettes themselves, and the need to go outside whenever you want to relieve your desires. Today, anything else seems crazy!

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